Several weeks ago I started doing some research on creative ideas for saving money (vs. the same old tired ones we hear over and over!) Before I knew it, I’d been reading for HOURS about the subject! I just love a good money-saving gem. :-) If you’re a regular reader of OGT, you probably already know the BASICS of how to live a frugal lifestyle anyway. So today I’m sharing some NOT so basic ideas that can have you saving even MORE.
Here are 29 creative ways to help you SPEND LESS AND SAVE MORE:
Get More Sleep
Having a regular, reasonable bed time will lower your monthly expenses. You’ll use less electricity, you won’t do any late night snacking and/or drinking, and the health benefits of getting enough sleep will help avoid illness. Win-win-win!
Potty Train Your Cat
It may sound ridiculous, but training your cat to use the toilet instead of a litter box can save you a lot of money. According to peteducation.com, you will save approximately $1,650 in total litter expenditure over the life of your cat. And apparently teaching your cat to use the toilet is a fairly simple process. Who knew?
Put Something Back Every Time You Shop
If you find yourself with a cart full of stuff at your favorite store (I’m notorious for doing this at TJ Maxx,) give one item back to the associate at checkout. Save yourself the buyers remorse you are certain to feel when you get home.
Paint Your Roof White
More than one-sixth of all electricity consumed in the U.S. is for air conditioning, but you can reduce that percentage — and save money — simply by painting your roof white.
By covering black tar roofs with solar-reflective white paint we immediately reduce temperatures inside and out. On a 90°F day, a black roof can be up to 180°F while a white roof stays a cool 100°F reducing cooling costs up to 40 percent.
Can limiting your flushes really save you money? It sure can! Plus, it conserves water. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow”…the saying may be cliche, but it’s good advice. If you’re grossed out by the “yellow,” just put the toilet lid down. :-)
Trick Yourself Into Saving
Sometimes “fooling” yourself when you’re keeping track of your money can result in added savings. Round expenses and deposits down as you keep track in your check register. (For example a $1,163 deposit becomes $1,100 and a check for $212 becomes $220, in your register.)
Ever heard of vampire power? This is the energy your appliances are drawing even though you’ve flipped the power switch. Even when you’re not watching TV or charging your cell phone…your TV set, phone charger and all the appliances that remain plugged in are still using energy — and it’s costing you money. So, you know that iPhone charger that you keep permanently plugged in next to your nightstand? (Guilty!) Unplug that.
Find A Frugal Buddy
You’ll have a much better chance of success in your money-saving efforts if you have a shoulder to lean on in times of weakness. Your frugal buddy will tell you that you don’t need that Coach purse…and they’ll sit at home with you on a frugal Friday night watching TV movies.
Cut Your Hair….SHORT
Water, shampoo, conditioner and the energy your hairdryer uses…all cost money. How do you spend less on these things? Have less hair. If you have at least a 10-inch ponytail, you can do ONE GOOD THING and donate your hair to an organization like Locks of Love or Wigs for Kids.
If you DON’T want to cut off all your hair and you need a haircut, odds are good you can find a student who can provide the service for a fraction of the cost that a professional stylist would. Check out local cosmetology schools, dental schools, massage schools or any other service and ask if they offer discounted rates. Just remember: you get what you pay for.
Get Rid Of Your Grey (Charges)
If you don’t regularly check your credit card and bank account statements, you should really start. “Grey charges,” or small fees, subscriptions, renewals, and other charges that many of us don’t notice, can add up to hundreds of dollars each year, and are easily removed or reversed if you catch them. They can cost the average consumer $215 to $350 per year. This adds up – especially if it happens across several accounts.
Pin-It For Later
When you’re browsing online, and come across something that you just have to have, stop, breathe, and Pin-It instead. Add the item to a “Wishes” board you create on Pinterest, and let it sit there for 30 days (or however long you deem suitable.) If you still want it after that amount of time, buy it, but chances are you won’t want it anymore. That is why they call it IMPULSE buying.
Active Living Is Cheaper Living
The more time you spend working on your health and fitness, the less time you’ll have to shop, go out to eat, hit the bar, go to the movies, and otherwise spend! Not only will you save money, you will be healthier with a better body to show for it.
Get Inspired to Save
Delaying instant gratification can be difficult if you’re not reminded of why you’re saving up. Make an inspiration board that illustrates what you’re saving for.
By taking heavier course loads or attending school year-round, many students are graduating from college in three years instead of four and saving thousands of dollars. Students may have to shell out more for additional courses, but they’re saving a year of university fees and room and board costs — not to mention avoiding potential tuition hikes.
Become A Popcorn Lover
This one I’ve got NAILED! :-) I LOVE popcorn. If you buy popcorn in bulk, and pop it the old-fashioned way, you can save a lot on your snacking! Just four bags of chips a month will run $12, while a $4 jar of popcorn will make almost 200 cups.
Go Vegetarian (At least once in awhile.)
Plant-based diets reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In addition to the health savings, the staples of a vegetarian diet — fruits, vegetables, beans, soy and rice — are less expensive than even the cheapest cuts of meat.
Shower Like A Seaman
The Navy Shower technique was invented by the Navy to save precious water rations and uses just 11 gallons of water instead of the 60 gallons a typical shower requires. Here’s how it’s done: Turn the water on just long enough to get wet and then turn it off. Then soap up and don’t turn the water back on until you’re ready to rinse.
Pack A Lunch On The WEEKEND
We all know about brown-bagging it to work during the week, but what about the weekends when you’re running errands? You work up an appetite doing all that running, and it can be so tempting to just pop into the local pizza place for a slice.
Drink More Water
It’s so simple but nevertheless an often overlooked tool that can save tons of money each year. Just by drinking more tap water throughout the day you’ll save on expensive drinks like sodas and energy drinks. Plus, drinking more water will also improve your health, which means less in health care costs too!
Pack Your Own Water Bottle
If you’re drinking water on the go, you’re probably throwing plastic water bottles in the garbage. Fill up a reusable water bottle and you can stay hydrated, cut down on waste and save cash. If the bottles of water you buy in a store are about $1 each, a reusable bottle will pay for itself in about eight uses.
Slow Down, You’re Driving Too Fast
Gas mileage drops considerably when you go over 60 mph. According to the Department of Energy, you pay about 20 cents more per gallon for each 5 mph you go over 60. Over time, that’s a lot of extra fuel, and cash! Excessive accelerating and heavy breaking can also make your car less efficient, so make it a smooth ride.
B.Y.O. Bottle of Polish
When you get a manicure or pedicure, choose a color you already own so you can do touch-ups yourself and make it last several weeks longer before needing to go back.
Plant A Tree
Adding trees to the south, east and west side of your house shades your home, keeping it cooler. That means savings of up to 25 percent on your home cooling costs.
Make A Drink Budget
People usually budget for food but leave out a drink budget. When meeting up with friends to have drinks (whether it’s cocktails or coffee,) it all adds up. Leave your credit/debit card at home and just bring cash so you won’t be tempted to overdo.
Keep A Freezer Log
It’s easy to forget what’s in your freezer. Keeping a log shows you what food you have, reminding you to eat it before it goes bad.
ATM Mind Games
Make a resolution that every time you take cash from the ATM, transfer the same amount to your savings account.
Making Practice A Picnic
When attending kids’ sporting events, rather than buying hot dogs and drinks at the park, make the occasion special by packing food and calling it a picnic. Even if you splurge on the really good beef hot dogs and gourmet buns you’re STILL saving money!
Cut your electric bill by turning off the television, and all other electronic devices, once a week – even if just for a few hours. Enjoy family time by playing board games, or head outside for a bike ride. Not only will you save money by cutting back on power usage, you’ll also benefit from some quality family time.
Whether you’re struggling to keep up with monthly expenses, saving up for a major purchase, or hoping to take a vacation in the future, you can do it if you really put your mind to it and think outside the savings box!
Hopefully some of these ideas will help get you to your goals!
What are your favorite creative ways to save money??